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December 02, 2019

Sophie Gelhar
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Congratulations to this week’s #WSGCStudentSpotlight, Sophie Gelhar! Sophie studies mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and is the recipient of a NASA Internship at the Ames Research Center.

Sophie and her team at NASA worked on the Mars Mission Design project, designing mission plans, researching, and developing new ideas on the potential benefits rotorcraft could bring to Martian exploration in terms of movement, sample collection, and data collection. Previous scientific exploration of Mars has been limited by satellite image resolution and the unforgiving terrain on Mars rovers. Rotorcraft would enable the efficient exploration of previously inaccessible locations and with higher resolution instruments; they could also assist in atmospheric, surface, and subsurface mapping, allowing us to gain valuable information about Mars’ atmosphere, climate, geology, etc.

Sophie’s work on the Mars Mission Design project was primarily focused on the Cavern Exploration mission, for which she researched Martian caves and designed mission plans. She did research on previous technologies and scientific goals for Mars, and contributed to the writing, editing, and formatting of her team’s final report. Outside of NASA, Sophie plans on attending graduate school after completing her undergraduate degree and hopes to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys modifying her computer, listening to music and audiobooks, and playing with her dog Penny.

Congratulations Sophie, and best of luck in your future!

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